The motif of dreams in Orwell’s and Kadare’s works

Dreams as a warning for the future and fate of humanity in artwork have often been used by distinguished authors of the world literature. Therefore, it is not surprising that Orwell has also used this narrative technique. Being multidimensional in the topics he handles, George Orwell’s texts continues to be studied today.

Various world scholars of the past century but also those of 21st century have studied different aspects of this composition such as the ideology within novels, autobiographical elements, language, style, and figuration always within features of the modern literature.

The motif of dreams has also been studied which is present in different parts of both masterpieces Animal Farm and 1984 through which the author sends his message to the readers.

The phenomenon of dreams has also been handled in Albanian literature in various periods including the modern one. Ismail Kadare is one of the authors who handle this phenomenon widely in his composition, sometimes as a warning, sometimes as anxiety or hallucination but unlike the others, Kadare in his novel The Palace of Dreams institutionalizes it turning it into a palace which explains dreams and elevating it to a level that the fate of a country depends on its warning. Being an erudite writer, George Orwell in both his masterpieces, gives the dream different functions, whereas Ismail Kadare gives it mainly a warning and symbolic function. In the satiric work Animal Farm of Orwell, the dream has mainly a warning function, while in the novel 1984, it has several functions such as: it is a warning, a fantasy but also an escape from a hard reality to fulfill desires, – which are impossible to be realized in reality. German philosopher Erich Fromm in his novel The Forgotten Language thinks that:

“Most of our dreams have a common feature: they do not obey the laws of logic that in contrary when we are awaked, we arrange our thoughts. Categories of time and space are ignored, the dead appear as living, the events in which we live currently, in reality have happened many years ago, we dream that two things happen at the same time that practically would be impossible. In our dreams, we become truly creators of a world where time and space have no power to limit all actions of our bodies.”

The dream of Old Major in the novel Animal Farm responds completely to the definition given by Fromm where he receives the news from the far past for revolution. Considering that in the past, the wisest people were responsible for decoding meanings of dreams, it is understandable that in this novel, this was attributed to the oldest one on the farm, who also enjoyed everybody’s respect and had a great influence on others.
His dream is an announcement for the future and a warning about what the animals should do. It is a cause for starting the revolution in Maner Farm. Old Major explains his dream this way:

“ It was a dream of how earth would look like when the human kind disappears. Many years ago when I was just a little kid, my mother and other sows sang an old song, where we only knew the melody and the first three words. I had learnt this melody since my childhood, but I had forgotten it as the time passed by. Nonetheless, I remembered it last night while I was dreaming. Furthermore, I remembered words of the song for which I am pretty sure that it was sang long time ago by animals and were lost in the memory of generations.”

This dream is a warning about what the animals should do, but also is a symbol of hope for a better life for a whole generation that would be realized through a revolution. Various scholars have confirmed that a dream is an appearance of daily anxieties and experiences that happen during the night. Based on this, the dream of Old Major is a result of his daily preoccupation.

The life on the farm is hard; the animals face many difficulties, and these struggles lead to their uprising. The animals need a mobilizing motive to act, while the dream of Old Major gives them this. It is an announcement from the far past that their lives will be better when the humankind stops existing, and this announcement is in full accordance with their desire, taking into account that the evil was caused to them by humans.

In Animal Farm through the dream of Old Major, Orwell warns animals of the course of events, in the novel also in 1984, in the very first pages of the novel, the writer represents a foggy and dark world. The dream of Winston Smith in the very beginning of the novel warns us of his destiny and of the society that would be gloomy and fruitless.

Winston’s meeting with O’ Brien at the office of the Ministry of Truth is a determining factor in Winston’s dream, although he doesn’t know whether this meeting was realized before or after the dream. O’ Brien warns him of his bad fortune, but he is unable to decode its meaning. He knows that their meeting will take place someday anyway, when he things about his dream that saw years ago.

“Few years ago– how many years? Of course, seven – he had dreamed that he was passing through the room in full darkness. Then, somebody who was staying; said while Winston was walking in front of him: ‘we will meet in that place where there is no darkness.’ It was said with a very low voice. Say it in passing – as a conclusion not as an order. He did not remember even the time when he knew for the first time that it was the voice of O’ Brien. However, he knew him well. O’ Brien was the person who spoke in the darkness.”

Orwell presents a country under dictatorship through which O’ Brien speaks (the room in full darkness) and warns of a bitter destiny which Winston will face in room 101 (the place where there is no darkness) from where he comes out as annihilated man in the end.

In dreams, we see the past whereas we understand the reality better, so through the dream in which Winston sees his mother, Orwell presents a past where there was a private life, love, friendship, and where the family members sacrificed themselves for each-other.

“In the moment of the dream, my mother was sitting somewhere deep down beneath him with his younger sister in her arms. They were in a saloon of a sinking ship and were looking down through the darkening water. There was still air in the saloon, they still could see Winston and he could see them too, but they were sinking continuously in a green depth. They had no reproach either in their eyes or in their hearts, besides knowledge that they were forced to die so that he could remain alive, and this is a part of order of things in life.”

Orwell wrote his novel as a warning for the Western society about what they will face under dictatorship if they are not aware and Winston’s dream, through which he becomes conscious that once there were family, love and sacrifice, is a warning that these virtues will remain just a dream in the future, because the dictatorship will replace them with hatred, fear, pain where feelings will not have any value at all.

The society presented by Orwell, is a society which is entirely under surveillance of Big Brother. In this totalitarian regime, fear and doubt have been deeply embedded in the people’s minds where relationships within families are controlled in the same way as feelings and relationships among people. In this society, Winston Smith appears as a lonely man who does not trust the party, but he heartily opposes it. He knows that he is too weak to take on the state apparatus but it does not stop him from hoping from hoping that he will win someday. He dreams of the day when he will be able to think and love freely, where will not be prohibited.

“Thus, the dark-hair girl was coming towards him across the field. With what seemed a single movement, she tore off her clothes and threw them away. Her body was white and smooth, but she aroused no desire in him, in fact he hardly looked at her. He was impressed by the gesture with which she threw her clothes away. Gracious and careless, this gesture seemed to have ruined an entire culture, an entire system of thought, almost Big Brother, the party and Thought Police could be annihilated by only a great gesture of hand.”

This dream not only presents Winston’s desires when he is awake, but it also warns us of the importance that the dark-hair girl will have in his life, and that later we will realize it is Juliet.

In this dream, Winston established a relationship with a woman that it would be impossible to engage with sexually and romantically in reality, because the party does not allow such a thing except in marriage always with the aim that successors to be born for the party. Following this dream, Winston starts a secret love relationship with Juliet, aware that this relationship will be his end. His dream is a warning for what will happen in the future:

“What was happening was only a development of a process started few years ago. The first step was the secret unintentional thought, whereas the second one was beginning of the diary. Then, he passed from thoughts to words and then to deeds. The last step is what will happen at basements of Ministry of Love. He accepted that. The end was in the beginning. He thought that he was entering in the humidity of grave; the fact that he knew since long time ago that the grave was there waiting for him didn’t help him at all.”

This dream causes anxiety to Winston, but it is also an overview of his past and a warning for the hopeless future that he will face.

Unlike Orwell, where in these texts, the dream functions remains only within the warning, writer Ismail Kadare gives it an important function in the novel The Palace of Dreams. Kadare gives the dream a function of most important institutions of the country, which deal with dream interpretation in order to prevent the worst. This is a novel by which Kadare presented his life in dictatorship, in the state in which he lived, Albania, while the event was carried in the XVI century, so that the government would not make a connection and stop it, but despite this he is being scolded by the party after the publication. The dream is a symbol through which Kadare presents great attempts of the power structure to control its citizens, even their sleep. In this novel the dictatorship has complete control over the people’s life, he is extending to all spheres of life, even dreams. Dreams come from the most remote areas of the state to be decoded by the Palace employees. They are placed in folders which after review are sent to the Archive. In totalitarian systems, the files were those that meant the investigation, supervision, and denunciation, through which various individuals suffered.

Referring to the thought of Erich Fromm that: “In the language of symbols, internal experiences are expressed as sensory, it means like something we have suffered in the external world in this language, the external world is a symbol of the internal world, a symbol for our spirits and our minds,” we can say that this is the meaning that Kadare gives to dreams in his novel.

In an empire, all citizens actions are already controlled, but Padishah is planning to control dreams as well, as a presentation of thoughts or actions that cannot be acted on in reality. Control or interpretation of dreams symbolizes the system’s attempts to control the unconscious because it already controls the conscious, while the Palace is an institution that exists beyond the people’s will. Padishah in this novel has created Tabir Saraj (Palace) to protect the state from external influences. He requires dreams to find warning signs of conspiracies, so the Palace employers goes around the state to collects the dreams. The Palace is a symbol of the control of the individual in the dictatorship, while the dreamers are the captives of this palace.

“Për mendimin tim, midis gjithë veglave të shtetit, Pallati i ëndrrave është ai që qëndron më jashtë vullneteve njerëzore se gjithë të tjerët. Më kuptoni ç ‘dua të them? Ai është më i jashtarsyeshmi i të gjithëve, më i verbëri, më fatali, pra edhe më shtetërori’’

(“In my opinion, among all state means, Palace of Dreams stands beyond people’s will more than all others. Do you understand what I mean? It is most unreasonable of all, most blind, the deadliest and more national than others”) . – says one off the characters in the novel. One of the main purposes of the Palace is to separate individual dreams from collective ones in order to prevent any kind of threat against the country. So, dreams have both symbolic and warning character. This is proved by an employee’s words to Mark Alemi in the first day of work:

“Gjithçka që është e turbullt dhe e rrezikshme, apo që do të jetë e tillë pas disa vjetësh a pas disa shekujsh, e jep shestimin e parë nëëndrrën e njeriut. Asnjë pasion apo mendim i mbrapshtë, rrebesh apo katastrofë, rebelim apo krim nuk është e mundur të mos dërgojë hijen e vet shumë kohë më parë se të shfaqet ai vet në botë”.

(Everything that is dangerous and obscure or that will be this way after few years or centuries, gives the first underplot in the human dreams. No passion or vicious thought, downpour or catastrophe, rebellion or crime, it is not possible to send its shadow for a long time before it appears itself in this world)”

Theories about nature of dreams vary a lot through centuries and among different societies. Some believe that they are real experiences appeared while we sleep, some of them are inspired by God, based on this, Palace of Dreams interprets them for many years to warn state authorities of the risk that threatens the country. He has been exclusively created with order of Padishah (Padishah in the novel, like Big Brother, never appears, but is constantly mentioned. Everything is attributed to him and is performed in his name, he is almighty) whereas it has to pass through several phases to get visa for execution. The dream that Mark Alemi transfers from collection to interpretation, then passes it to selection, other dreamers interpret it as a warning sent by God for the actions that will undertake against the country which complies with theories of interpretation of the dream in Middle Age period. This is the dream:

“Një shesh i braktisur, pranë këmbës së një ure, një farë djerrine nga ato ku hedhin mbeturinat. Midis hedhurinave, pluhurit, copërave, të thyera prej qeramike, një vegël e vjetër muzikore, e paparë ndonjëherë që binte vetvetiu, dhe një dem i egërsuar, siç duket, prej tingullit të asaj vegle, shkrofëtintë te këmba e urës.”

(“An abandoned square in front of bridge pillar, in a wasteland in which litters are thrown. Among litters, dust, pieces of ceramics, an old and unusual musical instrument that played automatically and a mad bull, probably because of sound of that instrument near the bride pillar.)”

This dream has two functions in the novel, the dream is the cause of murder of Kurt Qyprilliu and the second function is a warning always according to dreamer interpretation. They correlate the term “Qyprillinjet” with the bridge, epos with the musical instrument, whereas the mad bull is correlated with actions that would be undertaken against the country. Thus, by killing Kurti, they would prevent the country from being harmed.
The characters in the novel seem to be living in a dream and for the dreams. In this novel, dreams are also a symbol of the society’s unawareness, therefore, employees of the Palace were worried when the countries could not sleep, because when they sleep they are not aware what happened around them.

In the end, we can say that Orwell puts his dream in function of the novel while Kadare puts it in its center, but despite this, it is important for both writers in development of the story in this novel. No matter whether it is a predictor, warning, stimulating or causer of human actions, it has a meaning, conveys a message that should be decoded.